The new chair of the AAMC Council of Deans will lead his colleagues for the next two years
By Joey Garcia
Photograph by Jeffery Salter
Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A.
enri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School, can now add election as chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Council of Deans to his many accolades.
The Council of Deans — which includes more than 155 deans from AAMC-member medical schools in the U.S. and Canada — has addressed and advocated for education, research and patient care since 1876. All active deans are eligible to be nominated, but only one whose ideas, discussion of issues and integrity stand out is chosen to be chair.
“Being elected chair of the Council of Deans is a huge honor,” Dean Ford said. “I am excited to work with such outstanding colleagues as we respond to pertinent issues affecting the medical field, such as diversity in medicine, student debt and physician burnout.”
Dean Ford’s appointment to lead the council was no surprise to Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., the former dean of two medical schools, president emeritus of the AAMC, and a senior adviser to Dean Ford and his cabinet at the Miller School. Dr. Kirch has been aware of Dean Ford’s leadership qualities since meeting him in 2011, when Dean Ford won the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award, recognizing him as a champion for promoting the humanistic values central to health care.
“Dr. Ford is one of the strongest national voices for resolving the many challenges facing us in medical education and health care writ large,” Dr. Kirch said. “He has prioritized creating an optimal learning environment for students of all backgrounds. One doesn’t get elected to the council unless their colleagues view them as a highly effective leader with strong values and creative ideas — all of which he represents.”
As chair, Dean Ford will serve a two-year term and as a member of the overall AAMC board of directors. He will lead the council meetings several times a year as it discusses increasing biomedical research funding, bringing greater diversity to the field of medicine, improving health care for underserved populations and implementing the AAMC’s strategic goals.
“Becoming a member of the administrative board, and especially becoming chair, is not honorific or ceremonial — it’s a service that takes time, energy and people like Dean Ford, with the ability to lead their fellow deans in meeting a broad range of challenges,” Dr. Kirch said. “It’s not only an honor for Dean Ford to be in this role, but it’s also a positive statement about the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the success it is experiencing under his leadership.”